A Generation Of Guilt

by Jon Pinney on July 17, 2010

Has anyone else noticed how guilt-ridden our world is these days?

Guilt seems to be one of the top driving forces.  I want you to do something, so I guilt you into doing it.  You feel guilty, so you do it, even though you’d rather not.

What a pathetic and pitiful way to live–for both the guilter and the guilty.

The worst part is that so many of us don’t realize it’s happening, but know something is not right when it does.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lyle S. July 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Just saw Inception. I won’t ruin it for you, but i feel like guilt was the driving force behind the protagonist in this film; guilt’s powerful, consuming and maddening influence.

Shelby July 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I hope you are not implying that I tried to make you feel guilty by asking you to come to breakfast today. People wanted to wish you a happy B-day and they simply thought you were coming (I thought you were coming) – that is it.

In general, if you feel guilty it has nothing to do with what someone else is doing- I can’t make you feel anything- you are in control of your own feelings. That being said, Guiltifiers- those who try to play the guilt card, can be hard to handle at times, and it is best to just avoid those people when they are acting this way.

Jon Pinney July 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm

This is something I’ve thought a lot about lately, and it had nothing to do with breakfast Shelby. As far as I’m concerned, no one was trying to guilt me into coming. Atlas Shrugged helped me understand guilt better, and I’ve just been seeing it a lot ever since.

It is true that we all have the power to control our feelings, but I think guilt is something that has to be understood and learned before you actually realize it’s happening. Self-control is also something that must be practiced and learned.

Guilt is all around us… it can be found in marketing, politics, religion, family, friendship, service, and volunteerism (and probably a bunch of other places as well). Sometimes we even guilt ourselves for our own selfish reasons. It was not my intent to tell anyone they were using guilt against me.

Lyle, I saw that movie last night as well, and I agree with your analysis. I hope our society can learn to recognize and avoid guilt. We’ll be a much happier and fulfilled people if we can do that.

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